I receive a postcard! It just brings into perspective how dangerous their efforts in the great wild north.
Staring into the gaping maw of this monster, I certainly feel glad to have held the fort down here in Chestertown.
The family will be back soon, with Matthew returning first, in the next few days. I imagine them salt crusted, with bleary eyes and bellies full of fish, ready to reclaim their soda stream, their foot massage machine, their comfortable sofa and reclining chair. Thanks for reading!
Oscar and Lily were, overall, really great! They were definitely happy I was around to give them attention, even if the attention was shooing them out of the bathtub so I could shower.
Lily curled up behind me wherever I sat, and when I tried to sleep, she would lay down on my head or hair. She would mow loudly to get my attention if I fell asleep, or refused to pay her any attention. But she ate her food and used the litterbox well. A-.
Oscar gradually spent more and more time outside of the bathtub, which was great — except he spent more and more time by his food dish, swatting at me plaintively as I passed, and insisting that I feed him at all hours of the day. I didn’t. He retaliated by making litterbox duties unpleasant. However, he was otherwise sweet and friendly, if cranky. B+.
Thanks guys for keeping me company here at the Barn!
For my sister’s 20th birthday, I figured I should get her something suitably adult and forthright, to celebrate her passage out of the teens and into my decade.
So I got her a Magic Tree, which we grew together in a few hours the night of her birthday. Beautiful, no?
Don’t ask me about the chemicals involved, or the toxicity. It sells for a few bucks at Twigs and Teacups, in the children’s section, and neither of us have died yet. She is keeping it out of reach of her dogs, though…
I don’t even know how to caption this one…
Pictured [from top to bottom]: Lindsay Lusby, American Flag toothpick, monster burger cooked to perfection by Nick Moran (my boyfriend).
I have a confession to make. Six days ago, Matthew sent me an email which promptly got buried under a bunch of other emails. I may or may not have valid excuses for allowing it to do so, but let me just say that the email contained a request that I go to an auto supply store, of all places, for “a 1 and 1/16 inch deep socket with a 1/2 inch drive.” I don’t exactly speak that language… There were other details, instructions to get a “regular” socket and not an “impact” socket, etc.
Yesterday, I got a rare phone call from Matthew. Did I get his email? Oh, that email. Oops! I set forth, anxious to get this socket purchased and sent to Alaska as soon as possible and redeem myself.
It was a gorgeous day. The flowers tossed lazily in the hot summer breeze. I don’t even know if it’s appropriate to call it a breeze, it was so humidity-laden. Look at how tired the flowers were:
I don’t know why I was worried. The guy at Kunkel Auto Supply didn’t even grimace as I stiltedly read my request off the printed-out email. Within minutes, I had the appropriate deep socket.
This socket had spent a good long time waiting for a lifetime warranty-less socket to fail… or maybe auto shops just collect a lot of dust?
It certainly was a deep socket.
I escorted the socket to the post office (did I mention it was a gorgeous day?),
where a postal worker helped me determine the best, sturdiest package for the socket. The socket is now travelling post haste to Alaska, land of the sockeye salmon.
In the meantime, let me also redeem myself in your eyes, readers, by presenting you with photographic evidence that I have in fact finished, completely finished, preparing the subscriber mailing! (Don’t worry, your addresses are actually on the labels; I just photoshopped them out for the picture.)
In the interest of keeping you all in suspense over the status of the subscriber mailing, here are instead pictures of things that I did while not leading the dark hoard of gummy bears to stuff envelopes and so forth.
Sunday happened to be the birthday of one of my absolute best friends (Olivia), so my other best friend (Lindsay), and I took her berry picking. We went to a top secret location about 20 minutes from here (or maybe farther, or closer — in order to keep it top secret, Lindsay drove us in circles for a bit). For those of you familiar with the Eastern Shore, who might like to use your detective skills, the countryside en route looks something like this:
Or is that on the way out of town? In any case, it’s clear that the secret is safe with me.
Lindsay’s friend Jessie says that the native raspberry canes there have been around since colonial times. This means we didn’t just go berry picking, we became archaeologists.
(In the interest of rear-end anonymity, as well as basic human decency, I have reduced them to thumbnails here.)
I found a beautiful, empty birds’ nest…
But I was more interested in the berries.
There was also this random, gorgeous old mailbox:
We picked and picked and sweated and picked and got scratched and picked and finally Olivia and Lindsay had enough and dragged me away. Did I mention I absolutely love picking wild berries? It may as well have been my birthday. And we picked so many!
We were so hot and gross that the air conditioning in the car couldn’t come on soon enough. Olivia took desperate measures, draping her hair over the back of the seat to allow for better ventilation to her neck.
And since it was her birthday, I won’t post the shot of her happily munching berries on the way home. She’ll probably hate it for some reason.
Lindsay couldn’t believe how many berries we picked — and still had left, even after Olivia munched on them.
For some reason, we were utterly ravenous when we got back. Berries couldn’t satisfy us any longer. But I had a plan. It involved eight peaches, dark chocolate, a pound of pasta, shallots, white wine, and a lot of butter. Chocolate peach pasta!
My fellow chefs approved.
Of course, we didn’t forget it was a birthday…
Yes, that is a “cake” of homemade Tasty-Cakes, courtesy Olivia’s aunt. And… a trick candle:
Yesterday, after days of idling and lounging in which the height of my productivity involved purchasing then ingesting food wrestling with plastic wrap,
a long awaited set of packages arrived!
Three guesses as to their contents? Do you really need that many?
Plastic pockets of air! Oh, right, and the latest Idiots’Books book obscured beneath them, of course. [Photo of the book itself withheld to maximize your surprise when that precious envelope lands on your doorstep.]
I immediately enlisted my blurriest friends to help me put together the mailing.
It was very difficult to convince the camera that it should focus on gummy bears. Everyone should focus on gummy bears, but try telling a camera that.
The bears helped peel and place the appropriate denominations of stamps.
They stuffed the envelops with your books-to-be…
Alden’s favorite green bears pushed with all their might…
Until finally, we completed as many as we could stand for the day. Admittedly, I didn’t pick the most industrious of workers…
It doesn’t look like that much from this angle, but it’s a good start.
Don’t get too excited — these guys won’t get put in the post until the Alaska crew are back.
I just have to brag that I now reside, however temporarily, around the corner from this fine establishment:
Behind those tall glass windows can be found breads and pastries to sate the appetite of this carb-hungry town. Behold the pumpkin seed sourdough loaf I purchased today:
I deliberately did not take photographic evidence of the chocolate stuffed pastries I may or may not have consumed. Instead, admire my patriotic purchase from the Wednesday farmer’s market!
What? “Get back to work”? Fine. Here’s some evidence of my internly activities of the day:
I admit to being delirious with hunger at the time of packaging. That explains the scrabbly handwriting, anyway.
Back to folding t-shirts I go.
Folks, it’s done. Robbi, Matthew, Alden, Kato, and Iggy bundled into the van at an ungodly hour this morning armed with sun buns (thanks, bakery, my new neighbor!) and giant coolers of what I was told was meat. I was impressed at the family’s organization, patience, and fortitude in the face of DC traffic. I left them at the airport to fend their way through security lines. (With luck and binkies, they’ve since made it to LA, their first destination.)
I returned to the Barn to find, of all things, a clean work space! Well, at least until I get to work…
Everything is in its proper place, ready for me to messify.
I was pleased, at least until I found a half-empty box of gummy bears.
Then I remembered that when it comes to gummy bears, the box is always half-full. At least until I get hungry to work…
I decided to find the cats to let them know that a new era of attention and love would be bestowed upon them as long as I was around (and that it was in their best interest to help me stick around). Lily insisted I get her best side, darling…
of which she has many. We’re BFFs now. She tells me all the secrets of the Barn while I stroke her luxurious fur.
I had a moment of panic when I couldn’t find Oscar, who usually beats Lily to enthusiastic greetings. I searched high and low among the pencils, behind the computer monitors, in the deep stacks of books. Finally, I found him right where I least expected him: in the shower.
Alaska! Who needs Alaska when one has a Sodastream at one’s disposal!?
Robbi and Matthew thought they could distract me from its magnificence with this silly thing:
The joke’s on them. It took a few tries (and six sheets of paper towels), but I got the Sodastream to work. I’m guzzling as much fizzy water as I can in the next few weeks.
With two cats (that’s twice the blood pressure reduction), a comfy reclining chair, a foot massaging device, Netflix instawatch, air conditioning, gummy bears, a lava lamp (or two), and so many witty books at my disposal… well, I just hope they don’t expect me to actually get any work done.